New fraternity Delta Kappa Alpha offers a place for filmmakers

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Jonathan Garza

Radio-television-film sophomore Stephanie Garza is the president of the newly created chapter of the Delta Kappa Alpha fraternity at UT. The fraternity is open to all students who are interested in filmmaking. 

William Menjivar

Despite the resources for UT film students — ranging from student productions to access to equipment — a group of students felt there should be more organizations with an organized structure and a social interest in the UT film community. 

Last semester, a few students set out to establish a chapter for the Delta Kappa Alpha fraternity at UT. This professional coed cinema and film fraternity’s mission is to help like-minded filmmakers by providing them with resources and networking opportunities, regardless of whether they are radio-television-film majors. 

“We wanted to create a fun environment where people can go and not feel like they are being criticized constantly,” said Stephanie Garza, radio-television-film sophomore and chapter president. “We want to create a supportive environment.” 

Delta Kappa Alpha has developed a legacy of respected filmmakers since its establishment in 1936. Prominent members include Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Lucille Ball and other established names in the film industrys. Representatives from the University of Southern California, where the fraternity was established, approached students in the fall semester to start a chapter at UT. Garza, along with 14 other students, joined the fraternity and agreed to recruit new members after the new year started. 

The founding members knew that most students were unaware of the fraternity’s existence but hoped that with the right kind of outreach, the organization would have all the necessary selling points. The founders spoke to classes, posted on Facebook and passed out fliers to reach and inform the student body and ultimately received 80 applicants.

“[Recruitment] was a lot of work,” said Michael Park, radio-television-film sophomore and chapter vice president. “But the response we got was incredible. … None of us knew what to expect. I don’t think that anyone expected the numbers that we got.” 

According to Garza, new pledge recruitment at UT attracted the attention from chapters at other universities, which contacted the UT founders for recruitment advice.

“Carter Baker, [radio-television-film and advertising sophomore], created the website and designed everything for it and the national council and other chapters started approaching [him] asking just how he did it,” Garza said. “The same thing happened with our fliers. [Carter] designed those and our expansion coordinator said it was perfect. He sent it out to other chapters and said this is what it should be.”

Delta Kappa Alpha’s rush process resulted in the biggest pledge class of all other chapters in the country this year, surpassing those of other film schools. Founding members hope their fraternity leaves its mark on UT and the Moody College of Communications.

“I want [DKA] to be synonymous with the school of communication, or at least with the radio-television-film department,” said Remi Vitales, radio-television-film sophomore and scholarship chair. “Whenever people bring up the RTF department, they always bring up [UT’s Semester in Los Angeles program]. I want people to bring DKA up as well.”